Saturday, October 09, 2010

Melusine of Lusignan

Ever heard of Melusine? She deserves to be better known. A major figure in medieval French lore and legend who is little known in the English speaking world apart from an essay by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould as one of his "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages" published way back in 1894, and where he seems to take her for a mermaid, depicting her with a fish's rather than a serpent's tail.

She is however an altogether different creature. Indeed she has given her name to the type of faery who enters the human world to mate with a human being, bringing great good fortune until he makes the mistake of distrusting her.

I have taken the trouble to visit the little town of Lusignan, deep in the forests of Poitou, which she is said to have founded along with the local ruling family. I discovered her presence to be still discernible. So much so that I could not rest until I had rendered her tale into English, to bring her and her kind into wider recognition.

A fascinating creature in all senses of the word, and with an interesting family - including her mother Pressine (a Scottish faery who married the King of Albany - the old name for Scotland) and her sisters Melior and Palastine. One the supervisor of the test of the hawk, when if you could watch over her hawk without sleeping for the three days leading up to Midsummer day you could have what you liked as a prize, apart from the faery herself. The other the keeper of a great treasure, if you had the wit and valour to get past the monsters who guarded her. To say nothing of Melusine's ten sons including Geoffrey Great-Tooth, with the temperament of a wild boar and a great giant killer.

Just published by R J Stewart books as "Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman" - hurry and discover more of this powerful initiatory legend emerging from the transformative faery tradition of ancient Europe.